Green Scene: Save Water

How to Save Water in the Tropical Heat
In times of drought and when Samui’s water supply is low, it’s important to save water.
Here we share a series of articles on tips on saving water at home, clever water saving products, water saving tips for your garden, ideas on gardening in drought conditions, how to use grey water and more.

No matter where you reside, it’s a good idea to practice water conservation. In the hot months, a typical family’s water usage increases by 25-50%. Water conservation not only saves you money on utility bills but can also help prevent water pollution in nearby water sources.

Below are simple ways that you can help to positively contribute to your bank account, the local environment, and community you live in:

Reducing household water usage won’t just preserve existing resources – it will also save you money. Try these 16 easy ways to save water.
1. Water at the right time: Water landscapes early in the morning, when air is still and evaporation loss is minimal. Avoid watering on windy days and at midday, when water quickly evaporates before it can soak into soil. If you have automatic irrigation systems, always adjust your controller when the seasons change.

2. Monitor leaks: Check all pipe connections for drips. Frequently inspect o-rings, replacing as needed. Repair leaky exterior spigots. Many faucet fixes are simple do-it-yourself tasks. Also inspect valves in automatic irrigation systems for leaks.

3. Collect rain: Create your own water supply by collecting rain runoff. Rain barrels offer fast and easy installation. A cistern provides large-volume water collection and is often a project you can tackle yourself.

4. Know your soil: With automated irrigation, make sure the soil is absorbing water – and not allowing runoff. Many soil types, such as clay or dry desert soil, don’t absorb large amounts of water easily. Use short, repeated watering cycles to deliver water at a rate soil can absorb. Most irrigation controllers can be programmed to water in short, repeated intervals. Also consider amending soil with organic matter to improve soil’s water holding capacity.

5. Build basins: Mound soil to form a water collection basin around plants and shrubs.

6. Replace lawn: Carefully consider lawn needs. Lawns need twice as much water as beds filled with flowers and shrubs. Some of the most challenging lawn areas to water efficiently are slopes, curving areas and narrow strips under 3 metres. Replace lawn with native plant groupings or outdoor living areas.

7. Re-use water: Collect household wastewater from dehumidifiers or air conditioning condensers for irrigation. Use water immediately, or save it in a bucket for future use. Don’t recycle water containing bleach, fabric softener or automatic dishwashing detergent.

8. Sweep debris: Grab a broom instead of a hose to clean sidewalks, driveways, porches or decks. Sweeping conserves water (and burns calories).

9. Create zones: Group plants based on water needs to enhance irrigation efficiency. In an existing landscape, tackle this project over several years by renovating one planting area at a time.

10. Mulch soil: Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch to planting beds to slow water evaporation from soil. Mulch also helps suppress weeds.

11. Update equipment: Replace and upgrade irrigation equipment, including timers and sprinklers. Look for low precipitation rate sprinklers, smart controllers, and low-volume micro-irrigation, such as drip irrigation, soaker hoses, bubbler irrigation and micro-sprinklers. These items water plants slowly, minimizing evaporation, runoff and overspray. Consider retrofitting landscape sprinklers to drip irrigation.

12. Detatch & aerate: Help lawns absorb water efficiently by limiting thatch and aerating on a regular basis.

13. Mow correctly: Mowing at the proper height for summer growing conditions reduces a lawn’s water needs.

14. Sprinkle wisely: Observe sprinklers to make sure they’re working properly. When running a sprinkler, set a timer to ensure you don’t forget to turn the water off.

15. Stop drips: Add a shut-off valve to the end of hoses. Turn the valve to the off position when you’re dragging the hose from place to place.